PNS Daily Newscast - October 16, 2018 

President Trump tours hurricane-ravaged parts of Florida. Also on the Tuesday rundown: We examine whether the U.S. spending too much to guard confederate cemeteries; and the spotlight is on mental health during National Children’s Health Month.

Daily Newscasts

Supporters say Canyon Mining Ban Protects Water, Tourism, Hunting, Fishing

November 1, 2011

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - The clock is ticking on a 30-day public comment period, after which Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is expected to finalize a 20-year ban on new uranium mining near the Grand Canyon.

Supporters of the ban say it will protect the area's vital tourism industry, along with hunting, fishing and water supplies.

Arizona Wildlife Federation board member Ben Alteneder says most of the support for new mines seems to be coming from outside interests.

"Folks that seem to be pushing for this don't live next to the Grand Canyon, don't hunt and fish the area and don't drink the water. That's a definite concern for us."

Mining advocates insist that improved technology will safeguard the environment, while the jobs created by new mines will pump millions of dollars into northern Arizona's economy.

The proposed ban would apply to some 1 million acres of federal lands to the north and south of Grand Canyon.

Lynn Hamilton, executive director of Grand Canyon River Guides, calls the expected ban on new uranium mining "a victory" and says she's thrilled that the region's natural resources will be protected.

"We want to see the ban move forward, and that's important for the Colorado River, for Grand Canyon National Park, for the drinking source for millions of people."

Opponents of the proposed ban say it's based more on politics than on science. But Alteneder says uranium mining already has caused serious damage to northern Arizona's watershed.

"As you may know, there have been significant impacts from uranium mining already up there. Kanab Creek and some of these other creeks have been irreparably damaged due to mining back in the '80s and early '90s."

Mining would be allowed to continue on 11 existing claims in the area. If the new mining ban is finalized later this month, at least one company plans to sue. Republican members of Congress from Arizona and Utah are pushing legislation which would force the Interior Department to open up the region to new mining claims.

Doug Ramsey, Public News Service - AZ